The Nigerian Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has appealed to health workers in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 to take necessary precautions for their own safety while treating affected patients. The minister made the call in an address where he revealed that as of Thursday, April 23, about 40 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Ehanire noted that many health workers have been placed under quarantine in the past week following their exposure to COVID-19 patients. He said the government is making efforts to provide health workers with necessary protective equipment, and it is expected that they make use of it. .
. “I urge you all to take all the necessary precautions for your own safety, please do not try to treat patients without using adequate PPE,” he said.
He also implored all frontline workers to undertake refresher training in Infection prevention and control (IPC) at intervals to stay up to date on the best practices. This was necessary to avoid practices that may put them and others at risk.
The minister’s concern is not unfounded as Nigeria has lost at least three health workers to COVID-19. Among them is a private medical practitioner in Lagos, Dr. Emeka Chugbo; another medical doctor in Daura, Dr. Aliyu Yakubu; and a Nigerian Nurse working with Doctors Without Borders in Borno.
Nigeria has seen a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks, raising fears of a major outbreak. Ehanire, however, pointed out that the rising number of cases reported recently was as a result of increased testing and community transmission.
As of Friday morning, April 24, about 981 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Nigeria. There have been 31 deaths and 197 recoveries nationwide.